I’m sorry Habs fans. I have a confession to make. This absolute clusterfuck of a collapse; this 21 losses in 26 games; this downtown sinkhole of a season; this “wtf is happening!?!?” season. Yes, all this crap…It’s all my fault.
As one of the resident keepers of the Montreal Canadiens karma flow – I’ve failed all of you. Due to the Habs’ scorching hot start, I got lazy. With the Habs sitting FIRST in the WHOLE league on Dec 1st, and a 99.999% chance of making the playoffs. I took my eye off the puck. I allowed things like work, my health, and my family to distract me. What have those things ever done for me that my beloved Habs have not (besides provide me with a living, strength, and unconditional love)? I know what you’re thinking: “How could you Z? We all believe in superstitions and that you can directly affect the outcome of a Habs’ game or a season based on your completely random actions and behaviors” – and you’d all be correct – I have no excuses. We keepers of the Hab karma don’t volunteer for this, we are chosen. This was revealed to me during the Habs’ epic run to the Stanley Cup in 1993. After watching the Habs lose the first two games to the Quebec Nordiques, including a heartbreaker in OT. I made three key decisions that altered the Habs’ playoff season and lead them to the Stanley Cup:
1) I decided to move my daily shower from the second intermission to the first intermission.
2) I had a piece of homemade banana bread and half a glass of milk during the second intermission. Yes – my poor and incredibly sweet mother, was forced to bake banana bread for 2 straight months, and never questioned me once.
3) …and this is the big one – I decided not to watch any more overtimes. That’s right; I didn’t watch a single minute of OT after the Habs first loss. Although I would stay up in bed and periodically turn on the radio. If I heard a goal or my father cheer from the den, I’d go sprinting to the TV to celebrate with him and catch the replay.
We all know what happened, the Habs won a record setting TEN overtime games on their way to a 24th Stanley Cup. While Patrick Roy certainly deserved the Conn Smythe trophy that year; now you all know who the real MVP was…my mom and her banana bread.
All that said; I have to apologize for this season. Just like Mr. Bergevin and Mr. Therrien – I kept expecting this slump to turn around, and as it slid further and further into the abyss…it became too late. I wore different Habs’ gear; wore it backwards; put it on differently; stopped wearing it and threw it the corner; finally I burned it all (I’m just kidding, it’s still in the corner). I took my lucky Habs’ flag and moved into my son’s room. I changed seats during games (Yes, I made my pregnant wife change seats all to appease the hockey gods)(before you ask, my wife thinks I’m crazy, yet doesn’t question my behavior when it comes to the Habs after all these years). I forced my son to sleep with his P.K. Subban doll; then I took it away; then I threw it in the corner; then I gave it back to him, because he got upset…he’s 2…I’m 35…maybe I need help. I tried changing my phone background to different Habs’ logos. I watched weekend games at different bars; I tried not watching; I tried drinking different beer; I prayed to St. Rocket and St. Beliveau…
It all came to a head during last night’s Sabres game. I tried watching a portion of the game wearing my Habs’ tuque, while wrapped in a “lucky” red blanket, wearing just a pair of “lucky” boxers, while eating a “lucky” bowl of tuna, and doing a handstand…and they still lost (all that is true…except for a handstand, although I seriously debated it). This season is over, nothing can be done to salvage it. We, the superstitious lot, dropped the ball. I’m sorry Habs fans. To make it up to the miilions of Habs’ fans out there; and the tens of tens of my fans here. I present the top karma changing superstitious acts you can partake in to change the Habs fortunes.
1) Changing seats. Whether you have a lucky spot on the sofa or a lucky bar stool. When times are good, you’ll fight Brock Lesnar over it. When times are bad you’ll play musical chairs like you’re back in kindergarten. Have I done it? Many of us do this regardless of superstitious levels, and I’m certainly no different.
2) “Lucky” Clothing: During the Habs ’93 run I wore the same pyjamas for 2 months. During most Habs games, I wear my lucky Habs cap (it’s not so lucky), and when the Habs went on their “Halakian” run in ’09 – I did the reverse of this trend and went commando during the games. Have I done it? Oh yeah, but I learnt a very valuable and painful lesson: when going commando, always wear button up jeans, not zipper fly…ouch.
3) “Lucky” items: Whether it’s a rabbit foot, a hockey card, or a piece of banana bread…we all have something we feel can swing the momentum of the game. This includes moving the items around or – if they are edible – eating or drinking them at different times (or not at all). I’ll take you back to the Habs’ 2014 run to the conference finals. During the first round sweep of the Lightning, I was on antibiotics and abstained from drinking, and even after I was done the meds, I continued not drinking! Did it last long? Well the Habs took their first loss to the Bruins in game 2 and the beer started flowing again – but you know what? That beer guzzling switch worked because Habs beat them in 7. Yes I know, it’s crazy, but it worked (until Kreider runs Price, cause no amount of karma manipulation can overcome losing Price…cue all the sad fans pointing to this season, as they burst into tears and become puddles of slush). Have I done it? As outlined above – my mom’s banana bread is partly responsible for the Habs 24th Stanley Cup. The banana bread was not invited to be part of the parade.
4) People: Who you watch games with can directly affect the outcome of the game. One year, my Dad came to visit and the Habs promptly lost 5 or 6 in a row. So I asked my Dad to go for a drive. We drove a few hours to the border, where I kicked him out, and drove off. The Habs proceeded to win 8 games in a row. (Please note: none of this happened…the losing streak did occur and I did ask my Dad to consider going back home. He gave me the “you’re an idiot” look and the conversation was over after that). Have I done it? Beyond the lesson I learnt of never implying to my father that he’s the reason for a Habs losing streak. I have to admit I have avoided friends when I felt like they were bad luck. I didn’t tell them until now…sorry guys. The good news is they likely don’t read this because they’re bad luck and I don’t tell them about this blog.
5) Prayer: I often find myself praying to the Habs’ saints. While some ppl choose to pray to God, I feel like the Habs’ saints have a more vested interest and can influence the outcome more handedly. It appears as though they have been slacking this season. So I’m all for going back to the Big Guy. I’m willing to help organize a cross religious prayer session for broken down and defeated Habs’ fans. We can meet up and go “religious building hopping” – to a church, synagogue, and mosque – all while holding hands and praying for the Habs’ success and Carey Price’s knee. Sports: bringing people together since 2016. Have I done it? I think I’ve prayed every Habs game lately …sigh.
6) Sacrifice: Calm down people- there will be no slaying of any living animals to appease the hockey gods. I mean the sacrifice of personal Hab items or “good luck” charms that have failed us. You know how after a break up, you take a bunch of your ex’s shit and put them in a cauldron and burn it all. This is the same thing. So grab all those failed lucky Habs jerseys and boxers ; grab those hats, rally towels and t-shirts, and burn them to the ground! Bonus points if you dance round the fire and chant the names of all the Habs’ hall of famers. Have I done it? I can’t say I have – but during the Habs disappointing 2012 season I did rip up my Komaisarek and Kovalev t-shirts like I was Hulk Hogan on a ‘roid rager.
7) Try anything: When all else fails – you must try anything. So if that means spraying holy water onto the sides of the Bell center – you do it! Or if it means building an exact replica of the original Forum in your backyard, and hoping “if you build it, they will come” – you do it! (Incidentally if any of you do this and the “ghosts” show up for a game of shinny – please ask them wtf is going on with his season) Or if it means doing something real crazy, like lighting yourself on fire and running down St. Catherine from the old Forum to the Bell Center while yelling “I am the torch! throw me from failing hands to be held high!” – you do it! Please note you’ll likely have to also run away from the fire department and the cops. (please don’t actually try this…unless you’re wearing flame retardant suit and don’t run into any people or cars. Actually please don’t do this…or do it, but don’t light yourself on fire, run around wearing this suit instead)
…or you can stop paying for $200 tickets and $12 beers, and $5 hot dogs. You can stop watching the games; relax and spend time with friends and family instead. But let’s face it…that will never happen, as much as this city loves to cheer a winner, we also love to complain and “fix” a loser.
Therefore, us keepers of the Habs’ karma will keep chugging our lucky beers, wearing our lucky hats, and eating our homemade banana bread.
Heads up Habs’ fans. There’s always next year – in the meantime, let me know what superstitions you have and any ones I’ve missed.
As always… (this is getting really hard)
…Go Habs Go.